Yes, there is a stigma. Being a pole dancer does not make you a stripper and vice versa. The two are closely related but not the same, kind of like the fraternal twins of dance. Both come with the good and the bad but both should be respected because together we are stronger. We are an extremely tight knit community who associate quite well with the aerial community. Pole dancers are strong, fearless and beautiful, mostly because we have to be. Some of us are okay with sharing every aspect of the pole world while others, not so much. Here are some alternatives to using the word “pole” when explaining your fitness activities.

PoleShowLA Carlie Hunter - Alloy Images
PoleShowLA Carlie Hunter – Alloy Images


Pole fitness comes in many forms and most dancers dabble in each of the realms at one time or another. The most inspiring dancers combine multiple styles, techniques and shapes to create new and innovative movements.

Vertical Gymnastics

Dance is a huge part of pole fitness but it is so much more than that! Pole fitness is a style of vertical gymnastics that requires flexibility, strength, flow and agility. Gymnastics has the uneven bars, the vault, the balance beam and floor. If you flip gymnastics equipment onto it’s side, it begins to resemble pole!

Lifting Weights

Yes, I lift! Pole fitness does involve lifting! You are lifting yourself each time you spin, invert or hold a pose. Just because you are not lifting actual weights does not mean that you’re not lifting.

Aerial Fitness

Aerial and pole are closely related. The only main difference between the two is that one is more likely to be seen in a Strip Club. Although, truth be told, many Gentlemen’s Clubs do incorporate aerial performances during holidays and private events.

Nina Reed Photography
Nina Reed Photography

Chinese Pole

Most people have heard of Cirque du Soleil and respect it as a beautiful circus style performance. Chinese pole is one of the many apparatuses that these acrobats perform on! A bit less related to dance and a bit more like gymnastics, chinese pole is a great way to tell your friends that you are doing pole and easily steer them away from any stigma or judgement.

Some of us love telling people that we do pole fitness because it allows us to educate people on the beautiful world that we associate ourselves with. No matter which style of dance you chose to do with pole, all are accepted and all are loved! Most people begin with one style of pole and quickly shift into another realizing thing like even though you didn’t love heels to begin with, you cannot live without them now!

Need more?
Here are some phenomenal performances that you never thought you would see on a pole!

Comical Pole:  Liz Kinnmark
Theatrical Pole: Sergia Louise Anderson
Gymnastic Pole: Amanda Rose Ivy
Kids Pole: Emily Moskalenko
Teen Pole: Olga Trifonova
Ballet/Modern Dance Pole: Marion Crampe
Modern Dance Pole: Marlo Fisken
Horror Pole: Danielle Romano
Sultry Pole: Nadia Shariff

Men’s Theatrical Pole: Evgeny Greshilov
Men’s Ballet Pole: Suwasit
Men’s Contemporary Pole: Monika Ell
Men’s Lyrical Pole: Brandon Grimm

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